Hi Friends! Iā€™m Natalie Mason. I live in Charleston, SC and I am mom to Sterling 12 , Frances Moon 8 and our mini golden doodle Dolly.



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Let’s Talk About Paint.

Jan 11, 2013

One of the main projects I really want to tackle this year is painting our family room and hallway.  When we moved in our house I repainted every room but our den.   It was neutral enough to work but now I am ready for a change- plus I have a crazy two year who colored all over the walls with an ink pen.  Although he claims his friends Carson and Oliver did it but I am not buying that story. 

 I am thinking I want to do a neutral. gray color  I need you all to dish what are the best neutral colors?  Also would you paint the family room and hallway the same color?  Currently they are the same color.  I feel like it helps the flow since our house is small but I am clueless about this kind of stuff, maybe one should be lighter or darker.  Most important I need a color to go with our rug- the wing back chairs will be recovered and we will eventually replace our couch but the rug stays.
Below are a few shots of our rug and current den color although its hard to tell its pretty beige. I need any favorite color recommendations please!

A few colors I am considering:



Please help me out and tell me what neutral colors are best for living spaces.

In other paint news, I painted the back of our Hutch.  It was hunter green and I painted it Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze thanks to Emily Clark.  Emily painted the doors to her pantry this color and I loved it!!  It is a fabulous color. Kind of a dark Charcoal.  I am really loving it.  Matt insisted I could not paint the whole Hutch (he has weird attachment issues with childhood pieces) so we settled on the back panels and it actually made a big difference.  A little sneak peek below. 

I still have to finish all the trimwork, man it is hard to paint a straight line.  I also want to switch out the knobs at the bottom of the Hutch with Lucite ones.  I found both of these that I love from the Paris Apartment but they are kind of expensive.  Anyone know where I can find decent Lucite knobs/pulls on the cheap?  I only need three but these are $25 a knob and that seems expensive to me but maybe that is standard cost…..
I am thinking Ebay may be a good place to look.  I want something similar to the ones below but need them to be at least 2 inches.

In completely side related news we had our first pee-pee accident yesterday.  My potty training post jinxed me.  Sterling peed all over our couch of all places.  Ugh.  We are without cushions til next week while they get cleaned.  Sweet.
Here’s to a fab weekend!  Cheers!

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  1. love the knobs, I say splurge on them. The hutch was free right? Or pretty cheap at least so if you have the perfect knobs you will LOVE the piece. If not, it will always be just so-so. I'll email you might list of neutrals. Do you want to go grey or taupe or cream?

    And love that you painted the hutch urban bronze! I have that color on my radar too for a project too!

  2. Rachel Amy says:

    for the walls, I recently used Behr's Oat Cake for stripes I did in my living room. It is a nice, neutral color. Not too dark, but still a change from the current color of your walls. Cant wait to see what you decide! –RA

  3. Mary says:

    I always go to the paint store and buy the little samples. Put them up on my wall in different spots to see how they look in the room with different light. Trust me I almost NEVER go with the one I thought would be "IT". Its always some random color. Take your time….I'm getting ready to paint our bedroom and the guy at the paint store laughs because I'm constantly in there wanting it to be just "right" and it always is because I take my time. Good Luck! Grey is so in right now! Love it!

  4. I love the color on the hutch & I think numero uno for the living room has my vote šŸ™‚ Good Luck with the paint-makeover!


  5. Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Grey is the perfect grey/beige neutral.

    Restoration Hardware has killer glass knobs that look very similiar to the lucite ones you posted right now they are on sale for $12. Good luck, I can't wait to see the finished product!

  6. The hutch looks great, love that color! As for the other paint, I think it looks best to have your foyer the same color (or a shade lighter or darker) than at least one room off of it. My absolute favorite neutral gray is Sherwin Williams Anew Gray. It is the perfect "greige". I just recently painted my guest room in it!


  7. Melissa W. says:

    In order for the wall color to "flow," you must go get a paint (the paint store will loan it to you) fan thing (not sure the exact term for it). You will waste a lot of time reading what colors are perfect for other people. What goes well in one house lighting/furniture/etc. may not work in yours.

    It all goes back to finding the right color in your rug. First, get the swatch thing from a paint store. Second, find the color in your rug that speaks mostly to you (remember this color is your starting point-it may not ness. be the exact color). Third, find the color swatch that matches your rug color choice precisely (or as CLOSE as you can get). Lastly, decide if you want this color darker (go higher up on the same color section or down if you want lighter). If you consume your time worrying about the "name" of a paint color (what works for others), your head will get overwhelmed. Again, keep in mind you can have the paint store lighten or darken the paint by percentages.

    I just painted the twins' room. I matched the color from the wall-to-wall carpeting (they do not have an area rug) and took the color to Home Depot (I like their Behr paint) & had them lighten it 50%. The whole room now "flows" and looks so perfect and neutral. The wall color blends with the room bc it "goes with" the rug color. I hope this helps! I have made so many painting color mistakes in the past, I finally hired an interior decorator a few years ago & she has changed my life! Good luck!

  8. Oh goodness. Paint colors are the HARDEST! I've learned the hard way. You have to buy the sample buckets ($5 a piece usually), bring it home, and paint two coats on a spot in the room that gets direct sunlight. The paper paint swatches are sooooo deceiving. That being said, I like the third swatch. I love grey, but it looks like you have a ton of tan so I would go with what matches currently. Have you thought about doing a blueish wall color to coordinate with your rug?

  9. We are painting our entire interior house "Stonington Gray" by Benjamin Moore and it is a very neutral gray…love it! Out last house we used "Manchester Tan" by Benjamin Moore and it is another great neutral. I also changed out some knobs on a china cabinet and got glass ones from World Market that I really like and were not that expensive…it made a big difference. Cannot wait to see what you choose!

  10. My favorite neutral, that I think you would like, is Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, its a taupey grey, still really warm. The papaya one I think will go really yellow and stoney ground looks like it could almost go a touch peach with the red thats in your carpet. Definitely test everything on your walls and see what you like in your space! Hope this helps a little! xo

  11. Melissa says:

    My go-to grey is Smoke Embers (Benjamin Moore)– it's such a pretty, really neutral color. Looks amazing with lucite, meaning you MUST get the knobs (they are kinda pricey but it's like jewelry– add it and your outfit sings!) We're doing our entire china cabinet Urbane Bronze (walls are Smoke Embers)– I use it a good bit on the furniture at the store, and it's a sure-fire good seller!

  12. Sarah says:

    i think a light plaster gray like the "horizon" would be great.. it would pick up on the subtle blues in the rug, but it still looks great with neutrals like tan/brown!

  13. I got my lucite knobs for a dresser I gave a face lift too at the good ol' Hobby Lobby! They were already cheap and at a constant 50% off they were practically free!

  14. melissa says:

    Your wardrobe and decorating sense are very glam so I would actually go bold with your paint color!! I would pull a blue (darker blue) from your rug color) and paint both our foyer and den that color. It would pull out the dark wood from your pieces in the foyer as well as work with your furniture that you have now. Nothing pops right now and I think it would make everything really really pop! I have used a dark blue in a couple of my rooms and it makes such a difference! btw…it also disguises any marks made by kids on the walls

  15. 17 Perth says:

    Oh no! Poor little guy! I say splurge a little on the knobs…especially if you will have it for a little while. Love the urban bronze color! And for the paint colors–I tend to like more grey than tan.

  16. Melissa W. says:

    More advice-if you want a gray color-try Revere Pewter with your rug and hardwood floors. Also, after you pick your "go to color from your rug" find a gray that looks great with this color and still goes with your floors. You want your wall color to look great with floors too :-). I also just painted a bathroom & choose Revere Pewter (did not have anything to "match" but hardwood floor) and lightened it 50%. I love it! Sorry to blow-up your comments šŸ™‚

  17. Melissa W. says:

    Here I go again. Last one. Promise. Get a large piece of wood 3feet by 3 feet? and paint it white (spray paint works). Use this as your sample board. You can move it around the room. See it in different lights and put it up to the rug. Putting samples on the actual wall – you will run in to the wall color "bouncing" colors off of your samples and you will not get as accurate of what the color will look like once the whole room is painted. Make sense?

  18. Sarah S says:

    Love your hutch! As far as neutrals, I have found two amazing greige colors that look great in any room. Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore (Behr's Wheat Bread is nearly identical and I actually prefer Behr paint – plus it's a lot cheaper). I also love Behr's Castle Path – no weird undertones with that one. You can see examples of both on my blog if you are interested. (Just search the paint category). Good luck!


  19. Someone said it above, but Revere Pewter is a good color. I just saw this pin of it the other day: http://pinterest.com/pin/229331805996846250/

  20. LovePink says:

    I am taking the plunge this weekend in fact and painting my bedroom in Graphite from Benjamin Moore. It's DARK, but I think I'm going to love it. I got the inspiration from here!


  21. I like the last color the best. I love picking paint… just hate the actual painting!

  22. I'm in your same boat — I have an ecru/beige living room that, when we moved in, I thought "GREAT! A neutral that we don't have to paint over" and now all I think is BLAH. I'm over it. We went with a greige for our master bath and I think that is a great balance of neutral without being too "moody" like greys often can go.

    Hobby Lobby is always my go-to for knobs and pulls — they are great Anthro knock-offs!

  23. Ok. Benjamin Moore full moon!!! Obsessed!! Love your handles as well. Have a fab weekend pretty girl!!

  24. melinda says:

    Knobshttp://www.knobsandhardware.com/knobs/belwith-products-p705-lu-sutton-place-knob-lucite_g190180.html $5.95

  25. A friend of mine painted her house Sherwin Williams Greige- it is beautiful. I am in the same boat about to paint my living room, it's so hard!! Good luck!!

  26. marilyn says:

    I have Sherwin Williams Knitting Needles in my family room and I LOVE it. It's so soothing and peaceful to look at. And it goes with everything! divasayswhat.com

  27. Pris says:

    My favorite neutrals are: BM Abalone (which is definitely grey but a neutral grey)we painted are whole downstairs Abalone and I love it!I also like BM Shaker Beige which is definitely beige. Good luck in your search!

  28. You might want to check out goingknobs.com for some other knob options I did a quick search and saw they had some for $5.59 – they have the same ones on wayfair.com and they're offering 10% so it'd be a steal!!

    I think your best bet for finding a color you like is to go to the paint dept. and pick up any color you even remotely like and get a few of each color and tape them up on different walls and look at them at different times of day. It's probably the easiest way because you'll be able to see it within the room and get a good feel. I'd stick with the hall being the same color it would probably break up a small space too much to do a different color – can't wait to see what you pick!

  29. Taylor says:

    your entryway looks so preetty and is styled so well!! i always love gray – such a good neutral. happy weekend – cheers to Friday and drinks šŸ™‚


  30. Wendy H. says:

    You should seriously consider Restoration Hardware's Slate or Graphite. (Slate is definitely my fav.) It's a little darker the than few you posted that you are considering, but an awesome color. You can buy a 4 oz sample for around $4 and take it to Home Depot or Lowes where they can make the exact color in a better brand of paint that is a two-in-one paint and primer. I bet it only takes 1-2 coats.

    I say paint the hallway and den the same color. My house is also small and that's how I did mine. I think it flows nicely and looks great!

    I've had luck finding cute drawer pulls at Anthropologie but don't know what they have in stock right now or in your store. I'm all the way down in AL.

    Good luck! Wendy H.

  31. Rachel says:

    I love ben moore horizon, but it is very light and when it is very sunny in my room it looks white, my halls are also horizon – it is my favorite color in the deck

  32. Emily says:

    I think if you did gray for your family room it might be hard to find another neutral for your hallway to match unless you went with a bold color. I love gray though. I recommend you check out Sherwin Williams "gray screen." You could also do a focal wall in your family room a different color, then your hallway the same gray color. Just a few suggestions. Can't wait to see what you choose!


  33. I love Farrow & Ball paint. We used "Lamp Room Gray" in our foyer and we love it! It may be too dark for what you are looking for but a great gray none the less. We have "Cornforth White" in our bedroom and I love it too. It is a very light tan/grey-depending on the light. Looks good with any color. Love the way your hutch is looking too! I just painted the back of our armoire at NOVEL. a pale coral and it makes such a difference even if it is just the back!

  34. Farrow and Ball makes exceptionally gorgeous colors, though BM Horizon is beautiful and comes highly recommended by House Beautiful, Domino etc…

    Try Anthropologie for knobs…I found some great lucite ones from there once šŸ™‚

  35. raeofhope says:

    We just built and I chose Sherwin Williams Passive Grey for all living areas and hallways. It's a cool neutral but actually works with the warm brown of our couch, paired with yellows, taupes and blues.

    Check out the photos over at my blog…just put up a ton!

    Happy painting šŸ™‚

  36. Ashley says:

    Sherwin-Williams Perfect Greige. Absolutely THE perfect color – not too warm, not too cool, not too dark, but enough color to make a statement!

  37. Erin says:

    I got some great lucite knobs at Anthropologie not long ago and they were more like 10 dollars a piece. It will look great!

  38. We're picking paint for our basement at the moment and it is SO hard!

    But, our den/dining/kitchen is all painted the same color Sherwin Williams' "Agreeable Gray." We love it. Our friend's whole house is painted SW "Repose Gray" and it is stunning, too.


  39. Hi Natalie-if you want pale, I've had great luck with Ben Moore Classic Gray. I used Ben Moore Horizon on my kitchen island & love it, but it does have green undertones, so know that. Gray Owl is another nice BMW shade that's a smidge darker but still soft, and BM Gray Horse is yet another nice gray (my powder room got this) but a bit darker than the others I mentioned. I think Grays are even harder than Whites!

  40. …and when all else fails just slap on BM Swiss Coffee & call it a day šŸ™

  41. I used knobs and pulls from Restoration Hardware when I repainted a hutch awhile back:

    I have loved them so far, and they are much less expensive.

  42. I used knobs and pulls from Restoration Hardware when I repainted a hutch awhile back:

    I have loved them so far, and they are much less expensive.

  43. Brooke says:

    Revere pewter by ben moore is hands dowwwwn the best neutral greige out there – it literally goes with anything but is not boring. We painted our walls that were so yellowish beige to revere pewter and it looks so much better!! I posted some pics a while back during our reno – you could just search 'revere pewter' on my blig to see! Good luck!

  44. Amber says:

    My entry doors and sunroom doors are urbane bronze…I am obsessed with that color! My living room is called silver mist from Sherwin Williams. I love it! I've had friends use it and pair it with orange, red, green, etc. Perfect greige is another good one. Good luck!

  45. Caroline says:

    I'm in love with your rug!! I really love Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray – neutral enough but is soothing and adds a little color to the room… Can't wait to see the progress!

  46. Michaela says:

    Okay…knobs are awesome! I think i'd say do both rooms in the same color so it flows and appears bigger. I'd try to pull a neutral from the rug, so you're sure it's in the same "family" and "tone". Definitely try some swatches on the walls in different places to see the way the light hits it. You'll pick a great color!
    Poor little man…and poor sofa cushions! Happy weekend, Nat!

  47. Ooo, I'm excited to read through all the paint suggestions and to see what you come up with it! I've been contemplating the same thing for our open concept main floor. Good luck with your choice!

  48. We JUST had the same dilemma. We ended up painting what I consider the perfect grey. Its Valspar Notre Dame. I will post pics on my blog sometime this week. Enjoy!! http://www.ksereynolds.blogspot.com

  49. Ben Moore Revere Pewter or Elephant Tusk. They are both warm grays. Love.